10 Cllrs close to Balopi face suspension
Cllrs who revolted on WhatsApp identified
BDP to cracks whip on Balopi and associates
Balopi is a BDP strategist who can challenge Masisi-Analyst
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership is plotting a massive crackdown on the allies of its Secretary General Mpho Balopi, where about 10 councillors who openly criticised the party in WatsApp audios face suspension while five MPs are under investigation for voting with opposition.
The Patriot on Sunday has established that the party is in the process to effect the suspensions which are intended to rebuke the councillors for allegedly bringing the party into a disrepute. Information gathered by this publication is that the party’s anxious leadership is edging closer to flexing muscle to take the bull by the horns in suspending Balopi’ s inner circle to weakens the faction. At least 10 councillors who are considered to be allies of embattled Balopi could be suspended.
In an interview late Friday, BDP Chairman of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse said the party has not taken any decision against the councillors who recently attacked the party and its leadership at large. He said the central committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) will decide what’s next. “We are aware of the WatsApp conversations by some of our councillors and they are about 3 or 4. Central committee meeting will decide if there will be any actions taken against them or not. BDP is united as a party and we don’t believe there are any factions in our party,” he said, explaining that Balopi is the Secretary General of the BDP and he has been accorded the respect he deserves.
“Balopi is the valid Secretary General of BDP until the next elective congress. Our hope is also that the central committee meeting will discuss the future of congress,” said Kentse, reiterating that Balopi is considered a key member of the ruling party.
Efforts to get comment from Balopi proved futile as he didn’t answer calls into his mobile phone.
Disunity has been rocking the ruling party with some of councillors close to Balopi firing potshots. Sources close to developments at the BDP’s Tsholetsa House say the suspensions of councillors is meant to weaken Balopi’s inner circle as the plot to frustrate and oust him as SG gathers pace. “There is a plot to slap Balopi’s allies with suspension especially councillors who recently shown a discontentment towards how the party fortunes are waning as a result of corruption linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. Councillors to be disciplined are from Molepolole, Tlokweng and Gaborone. The motive of the suspensions is to weaken the prowess of Balopi’s allies,” confided a close source.
Moreover, informants inside the party intimate that some of the BDP MPs who are alleged to have voted with opposition against the Economic Inclusion bill recently could be in trouble too. It is said that so far about five (5) backbenchers are linked to the defying of the party caucus in relation to the economic inclusion bill that was tabled by the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Mmmusi Kgafela in the previous August House which seemed to be not cordial for BDP.
As a result of the growing disunity in the party, some of the elders are worried the party is sinking. It is said BDP elders committee intends to meet with central committee to so as to establish the level of relations particularly between party president Mokgweetsi Masisi and Secretary General Balopi. The BDP elders committee is said to be equally frustrated by the direction of the party currently.
Political and Administrative Studies lecturer at University of Botswana (UB) Dr Adam Mfundisi said Balopi is a BDP strategist who can master enough grass root support to challenge the president.
Nevertheless, he said the President has executive powers which he can employ to deal with the SG. If Balopi can control the BDP structures, he can be in better position to stay influential in the BDP. The downside, is that the BDP currently has been wakened by the promotion of the cult of personalities. The President has been elevated to be above the BDP. Venson-Moitoi was not in any influential position in the BDP prior to her challenge to the President. To be more candid, the President is at his lowest approval rate(s). Covid -19 pandemic has exposed his pathologies in leadership. He is a troubled man both within his party and the country,” stressed Dr Mfundisi.
Also, he opined that the opposition forces have performed strongly in parliament and in political space. According to him, the opposition MPs have exposed Masisi’s lack of strategic leadership to an extent that some sections within the BDP do agrees with their descriptions of a lame President.